"American Indian Heritage Month"
Don Yahola's Memorial 29th Annual Mt. Juliet Pow Wow
September 25-26, 2010
Charlie Daniels Park Mt Juliet, Tennessee
From eagle dancers to turquoise jewelry and flute players to roasted corn, Native Americans will bring the spirit of their arts and heritage to the 29th Annual Mt. Juliet Pow Wow Sept. 25-26 at Charlie Daniels Park.
More than 7,000 visitors are expected at the Mt. Juliet Pow Wow, some from as far away as Denmark. In feathered and beaded regalia, tribes will compete in eight styles of dancing for at least $11,000 in prize money.
The Red Boys will be the host drummers from Saskatchewan, while announcer Rob Daugherty will explain what the judges look for in timing and skill. Admission is $7 at the gate for ages 13 and older, $4 for 6-to-12-year-olds, and free for those five and under.
"American Indian Heritage Month" has been declared this September in Tennessee by Gov. Phil Bredesen through House Joint Resolution 708 introduced by Rep. Susan Lynn of Wilson County.
The Mt. Juliet Pow Wow will host a "The Trail of Tears 6th Annual Commemorative Walk" at 10 a.m. on Sept. 25 along Charlie Daniels Parkway, which will be preceded by a "Trail of Tears Memorial Service" at 8:45 a.m. at the Family Life Center of Grace United Methodist Church on North Mt. Juliet Road.
"We will tell the story of the Trail of Tears through tribal members by drumming, Indian hymns also sung in English, and readings from the Bible," said its co-coordinator Melba Checote-Eads, a lay preacher for the United Methodist Church. "Muscogee Creek singers will perform during the ceremonies from Okmulgee, Oklahoma."
Her great-great grandfather Chief Samuel Checote was the leader of the Muscogee Creek Nation three times from 1869 to 1879.Hula also performed
The Mt. Juliet Pow Wow will also be a celebration of the proud ancient and modern traditions of Native Americans. Grass-skirted Hawaiian Polynesians will demonstrate the hula, and the Navajo will make Indian tacos and fry bread with honey and sugar.
Kids will be taught by intertribal (non-competing) dancers, and they can listen to storytellers and watch hoop dance routines.
Adults can observe a silversmith making jewelry, and any other craftsmen at their booths. Families can also enjoy the giant turkey legs, barbecue, hot dogs and lemonade.
Two Native American landmarks — The Trail of Tears Commemorative Highway and the Sellars Farm State Archeological Area — are just minutes from the Mt. Juliet Pow Wow grounds. Since it was discovered at Sellars Farm in the 1930s, "Sandy," a three-foot sandstone statue from the Mississippian Period 1,000 A.D. to 1,400 A.D. of a squatting man, has traveled on exhibit to dozens of galleries in the world through the University of Tennessee.
"Sandy is considered by many archaeologists as the best example of prehistoric stone sculpture found in North America—and it's from right here in Wilson County, Tennessee," said Professor Fred Heifner, a Native American who teaches Anthropology, Philosophy and Religion at Cumberland University in Lebanon.
Because of the important cultural influences in the region, Heifner encourages his students to go to the Mt. Juliet Pow Wow every year.
"The American Indian — including the Five Civilized Tribes of the Southeast — developed a major symbiotic harvest known as the three sisters — maize (corn), beans and squash," he said. "And, this certainly is also a continuing part of Wilson County's farming and agriculture today."Trail of Tears event
Mt. Juliet Pow Wow Weekend begins on Saturday, Sept. 25, with a free breakfast at 8 a.m. followed by the "Trail of Tears Memorial Service."
The public is invited, reservations are not necessary, and donations will be accepted at the Family Life Center. The sponsors are Cooks United Methodist Church, Mt. Juliet Pow Wow and the Native American Gatherers Fellowship. Anyone can also join in the "The Trail of Tears Commemorative Walk," which starts at 10 a.m. on Sept. 25, from the Mt. Juliet Middle School parking lot and ends at Charlie Daniels Park. Because of state highway construction on North Mt. Juliet Road, it will take an alternative route on Charlie Daniels Parkway.
For the Five Civilized Tribes of the Southeast, "The Trail of Tears" is one of the darkest periods in history. Nearly 46,000 of the Muscogee-Creek, Cherokee, Chickasaws, Seminoles and Choctaws suffered intense hardships from 1831 to 1839 when they had to vacate nearly 25 million acres to go to Oklahoma under the U.S. Indian Removal Act enforced by President Andrew Jackson.
Many went barefoot, without blankets, and only had enough boiled corn for just one meal a day. Some caught diseases, and others starved to death. Even the widow of Neddy Jacobs — an early pioneer of Wilson County —accompanied the Cherokee along what is now Highway 70 through Mt. Juliet on the 1,000-mile journey to the West.